Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Circuit of the Americas, 2021

‘Sausage’ kerbs removed from five corners at COTA after 2021 crashes

2022 United States Grand Prix

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Orange ‘sausage’ kerbs have been removed from five corners at the Circuit of the Americas following crashes in support races at last year’s United States Grand Prix.

The kerbing, also known as ‘turtle kerbs’, are used at several circuits as deterrents to prevent drivers from cutting over the inside of corners, or from running wide on the exit.

During last year’s US Grand Prix weekend, Abbie Eaton was injured in the first of two W Series races after her car was launched over a sausage kerb on the exit of turn 15. It slammed back onto the circuit, fracturing her T4 and T5 vertebrae.

Fellow W Series racer Fabienne Wohlwend was launched by another of the kerbs at turn one in the second race. A third driver, Christian Weir, had a similar experience in a US F4 race the same weekend.

Some kerbs were removed ahead of last year’s race. For F1’s return this weekend FIA race director Niels Wittich has confirmed they have been taken out at five points on the 20-turn track. They include the left-hand hairpins of turn one, and turns 11 and 12 either end of the back straight. They have also been removed from the exit of turn 15, when Eaton’s accident occurred, as well as the final corner, turn 20, now known as Andretti.

Circuit of the Americas track map, 2019
Track data: Circuit of the Americas
The move to remove the kerbs follows criticism of them by Grand Prix Drivers Association director George Russell last year. His remarks followed the COTA incidents plus a similar crash involving Ferrari academy driver Dino Beganovic in a Formula Regional race at Monza. Russell, now a Mercedes driver, said injuries as a result of accidents with sausage kerbs were “unacceptable”.

“Globally this is something F1 and the FIA really need to look into because we saw another pretty dangerous incident in the Formula Regional in Monza,” Russell said at the time. “This is something the GPDA are really pushing hard to make improvements because I don’t know what the exact injuries were of these drivers, but I believe somebody fractured their back and this is unacceptable from such a simple off.”

Concern over the kerbs has already led to their removal at other circuits this year, including Monza.

This weekend marks Wittich’s first grand prix at the Circuit of the Americas as race director. Last year the race was overseen by Michael Masi, who was replaced by Wittich and Eduardo Freitas for 2022.

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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7 comments on “‘Sausage’ kerbs removed from five corners at COTA after 2021 crashes”

  1. Don’t worry Wittich will make up for the removal of the launching pads.

  2. OR, shockingly, drive inside the white lines.

    1. These kerbs are also hazardous if a driver is forced to leave the track, either because they are run off, have to take avoiding action, momentarily aquaplane, or have a technical issue.

      F1 can enforce track limits with simple visual tools. There is no need for the kerbs.

      1. @MichaelN They’ve rarely been risky at slow-speed corners, but why resort to visual tools when they could simply use the same slippery surface material used in Bahrain?

    2. Best to place a gravel trap (or sand) not very big strategic place does wonders!

  3. Gravel and lots of it

  4. ‘Turtle’ curb is what FIA calls them, though, but unsurprising, even though only the T1 exit’s three small bumps got removed twelve months ago, with the rest remaining in place.
    However, given this year’s general hysteria over anything from actual sausage curbs to speed bumps & the small ones used at COTA (orange-colored) & Circuit Paul Ricard (yellow), this move is unsurprising.
    What’s surprising is the different term used since FIA called these precisely the same shaped & sized things, ‘Baguette’ curbs in Le Castellet.
    I wish they’d use the brown-ish slippery surface material globally, though, rather than only in Bahrain, as this solution has proved the safest & most effective among the different same-purpose alternatives.

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